Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A New Perspective on Decluttering

I just finished reading Marie Kondo's book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and loved it. It has such a different perspective when it comes to decluttering, and it's message is just what I needed to hear.

Ms. Kondo is very specific in how to declutter, and her advice is somewhat contrary to the messages I've heard from others. I find it intriguing because after more than five years on this journey of pursuing less, I still feel like I'm fighting clutter on a daily basis. Ms. Kondo suggests that if you declutter and tidy your home correctly, it's a one time endeavor. And, according to her, her way is the correct way.

Here are some highlights that I found helpful:

  • know why you want to declutter - know your motivation
  • order is important - clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, mementos
  • one category at a time - do ALL your clothes, ALL your books, etc. Don't declutter and discard by room or shelf or drawer, do it by category
  • hold and handle each item - ask yourself, "Does this bring me joy?"
  • declutter/discard first, THEN figure out where everything goes.
  • recognize when an item has already fulfilled its role
According to Ms. Kondo, this whole process can take up to six months. She claims that her clients have such great success in following her method that they never relapse into living amidst clutter again. 

The most freeing advice I found was to recognize when an item has already fulfilled its role. For example, I buy quite a few books about motherhood and parenting. Sometimes I read them, but I currently have two on my shelf that I've had for more than a year and have not yet read. When you have something that long, it's not likely you'll get around to it someday. Perhaps its role was to help you realize you don't really want or need to read another book of that topic. Each item you keep or discard can teach you a lesson about what brings you joy.

I enjoyed seeing the Japanese culture and thinking come through this pages of this book. Ms. Kondo actually talks to her possessions, thanking them for their hard work or for their role in her life. I don't see myself doing this, but it does give a new perspective and perhaps attitude towards the possessions we have in our lives. If we have fewer possessions, perhaps we will value and appreciate them more. 

I highly recommend getting your hands on this book and reading its message. It's short and easy to read, and full of general and specific ideas and examples to help motivate you.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

for more book info, go HERE
for author bio, go HERE


  1. I'm totally intrigued by this book! Thanks for sharing; it's on my wish list now!

  2. That really does sound interesting. I am always getting rid of items. Living in such a small space I am constantly making sure not to collect to much.


  3. Thanks for the recommendation! I downloaded it onto my Kindle app this afternoon and I'm reading it on my laptop. This is a good time to use the notes feature to answer questions and jot down thoughts along the way. The one I answered so far is, "Why do you want to declutter?" My answers so far:

    I want a home filled with beauty, without ugly messes and visual distraction.
    I want to be able to find the things I want to use.
    I want to be able to work in a space without always having to move things out of the way.
    I want my children to form good habits to take into their adulthood.
    I want less conflict with others about messes and lost items.
    I want to be able to invite others in on short notice without embarrassment.
    I want to give things I don't need to others who can really use them.
    I want to stop curating other people's clutter.
    I want a lifestyle of moving forward into progress, not procrastination.
    I want to shed emotional baggage of things that trigger unpleasant memories.
    I want to cultivate a cozy cottage lifestyle.

    I do my day to day tidying by room, but my big organizing by category, as she suggests. Today I was tackling the kids' clothes.

    I think the hindrance for me - and I haven't gotten far enough into the book to see how she addresses this - is that six of my kids still live at home, and most of them are quite messy. :-)

    ~~ Virginia